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The Amazing History of Rubber Stamps

the first ever rubber stamps might have looked a bit like this


Long before ink pads and rubber stamps, crafty folk were making their mark with seals. The earliest evidence of this comes from Ancient Mesopotamia (a region of modern-day Iraq) where archaeologists have found examples of clay being embossed with custom seals. Back then, seals were usually carved out of bone or stone.

Fun fact: Such seals are referred to in the Bible’s Old Testament.

the first ever rubber stamps might have looked a bit like this


Woodblock printing more closely resembles what we now call stamping. It’s believed these early ‘stamps’ probably first originated in China, but were soon used around the whole world. Images and text would be meticulously carved into wooden surfaces by hand, and then stamped with ink onto fabrics or paper. 


In the Middle Ages, seals started being used with hot wax, often to authenticate letters and documents. By this point in time, seals were most commonly being made out of brass. 

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In Japan, woodblock printing sparked an entire art movement. Known as ‘Ukiyo-e’, this genre of art isn’t too dissimilar to how we see some creatives using their custom rubber stamps today. 


Although the Mayans and Aztecs had been using rubber for centuries, the rest of the world didn’t catch on until 1736, when a French explorer, Charles Marie de la Condamine, sent a sample of the sticky stuff back from Brazil.


Charles Goodwin accidentally invented ‘Vulcanised Rubber’, when he dropped rubber and sulphur on a hot stove. Five years later, Charles had perfected the process and was granted a US patent for it. As well as custom rubber stamps, vulcanised rubber is commonly used to make tyres, hockey pucks and the soles of shoes.

Fun fact: The tyre company ‘Goodyear’ was later named after him. 


It’s unclear who invented the ‘rubber stamp’ as we now know it. A lot of people claim to have been the first, including Henry C. Leland,  James Orton Woodruff, and L.F. Witherell. All three used dental vulcanisers, the base for false teeth, to put together their design. 

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After World War II, with the boom in the use of plastics, more and more stamp manufacturers started swapping out wood for plastic. As we now know, these materials can take hundreds of years to break down, and have a horrendous impact on the environment, which is why we’ve gone old school, and make all our stamp handles from good old-fashioned wood. 


Jack and Henry started making personalised stamps in a shed in Jack’s dad’s garden and ‘Get Stamped’ was born. This is arguably the most important development in the history of rubber stamps.